Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Not alphabetical.
  • adj. Unable to read; illiterate.
  • n. One who is unable to read; an illiterate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. (of symbols) Not alphabetic.
  • adj. (of a person) Illiterate, unable to read or write.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not knowing the alphabet; illiterate; unable to read.
  • Non-alphabetic.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an illiterate person who does not know the alphabet
  • adj. relating to or expressed by a writing system that is not alphabetic
  • adj. having little acquaintance with writing
  • adj. not alphabetic

Etymologies

From Greek analphabētos, not knowing the alphabet : an-, not; see a-1 + alphabētos, alphabet; see alphabet.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
an- (not) + alphabetic (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • So not a few of the Amirs of Sind were analphabetic and seemed rather proud of it: “a Baloch cannot write, but he always carries a signet-ring.”

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • They have relapsed into the analphabetic state of their ancestors; they are great at eloquence; and, though without our poetical forms, they have a variety of songs upon all subjects and they improvise panegyrics in honour of chiefs and guests.

    Two Trips to Gorilla Land and the Cataracts of the Congo

  • Not quite ANY book, however, for the book-wallah, though analphabetic, had learned to recognize and refuse a Bible.

    Burmese Days

  • But the later ones, from the viceregal period onwards, are in the vernacular and display a marked deterioration; one must suppose that they were printed for such of the common people as could still read (up to a few years ago, sixty-five per cent of the populace were analphabetic).

    Old Calabria

  • Indeed the wide diffusion of letters in the States, that favourite theme for boasting and bragging over the unenlightened and analphabetic Old World, has tended only to exaggerate the defective and disagreeable side of a national character lacking geniality and bristling with prickly individuality.

    Arabian nights. English

  • This well-known Arabist not only assisted me in passing the whole work through the press he also added a valuable treatise on Arabic Prosody (x. 233-258) with indexes of various kinds, and finally he supervised the MSS. of the Supplemental volumes and enriched the last three, which were translated under peculiar difficulties in analphabetic lands, with the results of his wide reading and lexicographical experience.

    Arabian nights. English

  • So not a few of the Amirs of Sind were analphabetic and seemed rather proud of it: "a Baloch cannot write, but he always carries a signet-ring."

    Arabian nights. English

  • However, in Slovakia, an analphabetic media prevails.

    The Slovak Spectator

  • These procesions began a long long time ago to explain the Easter story to the analphabetic.

    Boston.com Top Stories

  • When the clover growing over the enriched soil grew dramatically denser than the analphabetic clover around it, he had successfully introduced gypsum as "land plaster" to American farmers.

    Cardhouse

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